Enjoy your kids while you can!

August 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Family

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My awesome son

My awesome son

Today is my son’s birthday.  At 4:05 a.m., Alex turned 23.  Wow!  How did that happen???  Surely I haven’t aged that much!

It seems like only yesterday that he was  a baby!  Then, before I knew it he was going off to kindergarten.  And, I cried.  “Tomorrow he’ll be going to high school,” I lamented.  His dad laughed at me.

Then, sure enough… the next day he did, in fact, go off to high school.  Again, I cried.  “Tomorrow he’ll be going to college,” I sobbed.  Now, his dad wasn’t laughing. And, then, sure enough…off he went.  And now he’s in grad school!

It was amazing how different everything was without him.   No more running to soccer games and band concerts; no more bake sales and book fairs; no more science fair projects and poster contests.  The house was quiet, clothes and towels weren’t strewn around the bathroom, I could see his bedroom floor and there was no need to nag about taking out the garbage or emptying the dishwasher.

Sounds like every mother’s dream?  Be careful what you wish for!  I was miserable.

As a child psychologist, I work with parents who tend to fall into one of three categories:  the ones who can’t wait for the kids to leave home, the ones who never want their kids to leave and the ones who straddle the fence.

Time flies when you’re raising kids.  Sure, there are days that you feel like pulling your hair out…and your kid offering to do it for you!  And, then there are the times when your heart just bursts with love.

But, we can get too caught up in the daily drudge of homework, baths and discipline.  It’s easy to lose the joy of being a parent, spending time with the kids and watching them grow.   So…

Yes, you can yell at your daughter for spilling her milk.

You can tell your kids to “shut up” because they get too noisy.

You can resent all the dirty clothes piled on the floor.

You can spend the day giving your son the silent treatment.

Or not!

Bottom line?  It all goes away far too soon.  So, here’s my advice:

  • Cherish the little things
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff
  • Stop taking yourself so seriously
  • Laugh with your kids everyday
  • Pick your ‘no’s”
  • Have family time on a regular basis
  • Find ways to enjoy being a parent

So—how about it?  Do you pick and choose your battles?  Is seeing your little girl with your lipstick all over her face, or your son with his new shoes covered in mud really times to yell and blow your stack?  Or are they times to clean up, reprimand and secretly smile to yourself, filing the moment in your memory bank for heart-warming reflection at a later date?

Take it from someone who knows only too well…

It’s the little things that fill your home with the sweet presence of children.  And these moments will be gone before you know it.   When you won’t have to deal with muddy shoes, ‘borrowed’ lipstick and dirty laundry anymore… will that be a good thing?

So, enjoy your children— they grow up way too soon!


4 Responses to “Enjoy your kids while you can!”
  1. Ali Davies says:

    My son starts school school on Tuesday (age 5). A big milestone for both of us as I have been a stay at home mum since he was born and am about to return to re-start my business.
    Your article really spoke volumes to me and has filled me with resolve to treasure each and every stage. Thank you

  2. Dr. Vicki Panaccione says:

    Ali–You rock! My intentions are to get this message out to as many parents as possible so that they, too, can enjoy their ride (albeit a roller coaster at times) of parenting!

    How about other parents out there? What are you doing to ‘treasure each and every stage’ of your child’s development?

  3. Savi Subar says:

    I want to say thank you DR. VICKI for your talk shows on radio 103.5 (in Trinidad and Tobago). I listen to your programmes all the time. I was having some problems with my six year old and her school work, and by calling in and listening to your advice and your shows I took a different approach to her and the school work. I am now proud to say she got 82% in her grades, so I am now a VERY HAPPY AND PROUD MOM…THANK YOU DR. VICKI FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART…..

  4. Tosin says:

    Thanks for reminding us – working mothers who get easily irritated by our kids noise because we are stressed out from work.

    I’ll learn to enjoy and treasure those moments I get to spend with them before they grow too fast and leave.

    Wonderful post. Pls, keep it coming. Thanks.